Dharma Talks given by Nyogen Roshi at the Hazy Moon can be inspired by a koan, a sutra, the writings of our Zen ancestors, modern scientific explorations, a student’s question, or today’s headlines. In every talk, you hear the vitality of the living word, the spontaneous expression of prajna flowing from the awakened mind that cuts through our confusion to encourage and invigorate our practice.
Ikkyu, a 15th century Rinzai poet-monk, was born the son of the Japanese emperor and was exiled from the royal court along with his mother when he was still a young boy. Both mother and son became ardent students of Zen. In the letter she left for him upon her death, Ikkyu’s mother urges him […]
Prompted by a student talk that touched on caring for the dying, Nyogen Roshi discusses the urgency of cultivating samadhi by “doing non-doing.” If we ignore or trivialize this imperative, we contribute to the pain and suffering around us. But if we engage in the hard work of Zen practice, we transform ourselves and our […]
In this Teisho inspired by Dogen Zenji’s fascicle on self-realization samadhi, Nyogen Roshi reminds us that Dogen’s writing–in fact, the teaching of all the past masters and Buddhas–is pointing directly at the mind of the individual practitioner. “The whole point of Buddha Dharma is the evolution of your consciousness,” Roshi says. “Realizing this is relatively […]
In a riveting talk weaving together Navy SEALs survival strategy, admonitions from the Avatamsaka Sutra and insights from physicist Tom Campbell, Nyogen Roshi reminds us that if the demands of true practice are difficult, the rewards are immeasurable. “Always it is only you,” he says. “And all the players on this great stage are you. […]
“There is much confusion” about the definition of prajna, Nyogen Roshi tells us in this Dharma talk. “And yet it is the simplest, most direct experience of actualized Buddha Dharma.” The reason for the confusion? Prajna simply can’t be understood, because “there is no understanding to the manifestation of great prajna.” Listen as Roshi clarifies […]
At the beginning of our sesshin commemorating Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment experience, Nyogen Roshi reminds us of the common thread connecting all the forms of practice in our lineage. “You have to push through the wall of duality–the sense of separation that keeps us trapped in the six senses,” Roshi tells us. “How do I do […]
“Do you see how your belief system is shaping you?” Nyogen Roshi asks in a Dharma talk inspired by an “old master” who has figured into many of Roshi’s recent talks. “It is a belief system that makes you think this sense of separation is real.”
In this Teisho, Nyogen Roshi relates the story of his getting lost in what he calls a “hell realm” and connects his experience with the lessons he is taking from The End of Suffering, a book that he has recommended to the sangha. “It’s your head that you’re constantly looking at,” Roshi says. “So long […]
In a talk weaving insights from the physicist Russell Targ into the teachings of Dogen Zenji and Nagarjuna, Nyogen Roshi demystifies “miraculous activities” like levitation and remote viewing. “The true miracles are the daily activities of Buddhas,” Roshi says.
“Lineage isn’t something that you develop, something that you create. It’s something that you receive.” Responding to those who want to establish new Buddhist institutions in the U.S., Nyogen Roshi reminds us how profoundly simple and difficult true Buddhist practice is–and how important it is, for those reasons, to practice with a teacher who has […]
Working with “Chimon’s Prajna Wisdom”–a case from the Blue Cliff Record–Nyogen Roshi offers practice instructions that apply not just to working with koans but to any of the practices in the Zen tradition. “You have to take the koan beyond the intellectual mind, the egocentric mind, and that is not easy,” Roshi says. “The difficult […]
“You cannot free yourself from the dualistic mind by thinking about it,” Nyogen Roshi reminds us. Instead, using our practice, we have to allow our minds to become still and empty in order to see clearly. “The Miracle is right here!” Roshi says. “This is the miracle!”